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Paul Ryan abandons Trump, pivots to down-ballot races

Dozens of top Republicans have distanced themselves from Donald Trump after Friday's release of a decade-old tape containing audio of Trump making vulgar comments about women. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has reportedly been considering withdrawing his support of Trump, but after a Monday morning conference call with House Republicans, stopped short of fully denouncing him.

Still, Ryan — who is expressly concerned with salvaging Republicans' chances in down-ballot races — reportedly said he would no longer defend or campaign with the Republican nominee. Instead, he plans to spend the next month putting his energy into keeping the House majority.

"Handle Trump however it best works in each individual race," Ryan apparently told fellow Republicans, per a GOP representative privy to the conversation.